Thursday, March 27, 2008

a case of who?/i bet you think this post is about you/will you still read me tomorrow

This month's Vanity Fair has a story about three Rebel Angels--Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Carole King. While there's a lot of gratingly intense celebration of the fact that the three are women (!) writing songs (!) (including the use of the word 'Everywoman') that sort of invalidates a lot of the really great art they made, it does a good bio of Joni Mitchell (more so, at least, than the other two women), complete with descriptions of high cheek bones and a "Canadian Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz."

And of course this description of famous alum of the Seven Sisters schools made my mouth water: " stovepipe pants and ponchos, raising fists at political rallies, debating literary lions now viewed as troglodytes, producing theoretical tracts and carnal novels."

Check it (if only for the pretty pictures of hippy kids with guitars). Pretty sure the whole thing's online.

PS. In the article, Weller describes King as "getting younger as she got older (as one could do only back then)."
I've got a handwritten letter from my baby sister pinned to my bulletin board (one of those "if the house was on fire, and you could only save one thing," kind of possessions [sorry 'bout the drumkit, CS]) and a perpetual love for chasing the wind that pray that era's not over.

Johnny & Joni do "Girl from the North Country"
Joni - A Case of You

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

and what follows is this:

All my favourite stories are on the road.

Emmylou, doing Townes Van Zandt's Pancho and Lefty, a song that always reminds me of Don Edward's song, Coyotes.

baby do you know what i mean

Listening to a ton of Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris music right now, and finding it's the soundtrack to a rich life.

One of my favourite blogs, This Recording, has this post about the glory of Gram (including soft, earnest interviews with the martyr himself) which is definitely worth checking out.

Gram on Emmylou:
"She sang like a bird, man, and that was it... She can sing anything that you're doing in perfect harmony as long as you look at her. If you raise your eyebrows when you're going up on a note, she goes right up with you. She's beautiful."

Emmylou's farewell song to Gram, Boulder to Birmingham always stops my heart a little bit.
So far, this blog is the only place I can find it online, so go there, and click play.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

writing to reach me

Originally published here, along with a ridiculous photograph.

In those awkward, self-aware years between childhood and adulthood, when I was buying Seventeen magazines in order to imagine the life of a 17-year-old and keeping copious records of descriptions of boys I liked, friends who had betrayed me and arguments with parents, it seemed as though I was always being instructed to write a letter to myself in the future. A time capsule to open in the year 2000 or when I graduated from high school or something, a memento of times past, a purpose-fuelled inspiration to motivate myself at 12 to dream big, and at 18 to pursue those dreams. The capitalist’s dream summed up in a Dr. Phil moment of self exploration, facilitated by a small-town schoolteacher whose favourite phrase was, “The sky’s the limit.”

I found one of them the other day, a record from my last year before high school, tucked between the pages of a pink diary guarded by the words “keep out” written in menacingly sparkling purple nail polish.
In the letter, I'd written myself about who my best friends were, (using the classic initial-only last name unique to public school days: “Ashley H.”), my favourite bands—The Beatles, Oasis, Tom Petty—and what I wanted for the future: “To become a famous author, and also a doctor (maybe).”
While I’m pretty impressed by my pre-teen enthusiasm for music that’s still dear to my heart, I’ve given up on the dream I no longer remember having to be a doctor.
The whole exercise, though more than 10 years in the making, was fairly anti-climactic. Far from mourning the loss of failed dreams, of being inspired by the purer hope I had once had, I was mostly creeped out by the letter’s eery and narcissitic address—”Dear Meghan,”—and signature: “Love, Meghan.”

The letter did, however, make me think about the tragedy of the one-way passage of time—how much better it would be if I could write a letter and pop it into some time-travelling post system that would take it back to the days of dollar-store eyeliner and “group dates.” I would write to myself about the things that really matter—that diary I kept, the books I was reading, the music I was clinging to, family, friends who were good at being friends—and the things that don’t: Grade 9 math class, boys who make fun of curly hair, bra size. Again there would be a distinctly Dr. Phil-like vibe to the whole thing: “hindsight’s 20/20.”

Now I’m in my fourth year of university, on the edge of something even bigger than high school appeared back then, and I don’t feel half as secure as I did then. There’s no road map from here on out, and I’m not really keen on drawing one just yet.

Dear Future Self,
The sky’s the limit.
Love, Meghan

Thursday, March 13, 2008

the only people for me are the mad ones

Amidst the snow and sadness of the winter, I've been bunking down in the ivory tower (a.k.a. Stauffer Library) with my homeys (see photo) catching up with my first love, the Beats. Though they've become the cliched territory of stoner-buddhas and supposedly high-minded frat boys, I've always felt pretty sincere in my affections for Jack and the boys. I read Dharma Bums for the first time when I was 16, and it felt like waking up--like I'd been asleep for my whole life. In honour of these two crazy kids, long hours at the library for no reason, over-the-counter uppers and late nights (or early mornings) singing along with Dylan, a list.

Top Ten Things To Do in a Kerouac Novel/Poem/Letter

10. Get all confused and hung up.

9. Abstractly refer to Buddhism, God and America. Interchangeably, if possible.

8. Take bennys.

7. Worry about your mother. Refer to your mother, her cat, and your belongings as “the ménage.”

6. Get a ride with/pick up some hitchhiking Okies.

5. “Ball” with girls. Descriptions of said girls should be based on their occupations and hair colour. Note: if in spiritual phase, refer to sex as “yabyum.”

4. Reminisce about your golden youth in a small and snowy New England town.

3. Go and never stop going till you get there. You don’t know where you’re going, but you gotta go.

2. Drink a lot, worry about how much you’re drinking, swear to stop drinking, repeat.

1. Dig/be dug by someone.

Haven't changed, haven't much to say

Since I started slingin' dirty pints at the local I can't get Paddy's Day off the brain, and with half my heart in Dublin (the pretty lady pictured at right), it's Irish time. Video-stylez.

Jape - Floating

PS. I want to marry this song.

The Frames - Lay Me Down

Note: I love that the scroll on this video mentions the Olympia, former work place of the loveliest Dubliner.

Redneck Manifesto - We Still Got It

NB: They still got it. This video makes me think of: a) high school, and b) the opening credits for Almost Famous.

And because this list would be incomplete without them (or rather, him?)...

Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back in Town

So...I sort of want to borrow Brian Robertson's high-waisted denims. Also, that in-screen video showing the whole stage means that The Future is here.

But seriously, the best place that I know of to find St Patty's music is Hi-Fi Popcorn, which is straight outta Dublin. Check it.